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Pledge To Take A Day OFF From Technology

Take a day off from technology! The reasons technology can hurt ourselves, our family, our community and our world.


Just this morning I sat at the pediatrician's office with my 7 month old daughter who unfortunately has her first ear infection. While she giggled and drooled on my lap I was observing other parents with their children, who all happened to be under the age of 2. It was a sad sight I'm sorry to say. All of the parents and their children were using technology and having no interaction with one another. Most were using their i-phones to stream kid's videos while they waited in the office; while other kids were using their leapfrogs.  No one had a smile on their face.  No one was showing emotion. No one was scolding their child to sit and wait patiently until the nurse came to get them. Everyone was stone faced staring at their technological devices.

I immediately felt sadness, anger and guilt as I looked around the room. The sadness was for the children who are missing out on so much because their parents aren't teaching them patience to wait 15 minutes until it's their turn to be seen. It was also because I felt as I looked at these parent-child relationships that something was lacking...communication with one another. I felt anger that our world has so much focus on these devices. I feel like everywhere I go people are always using their phones, i-pads, televisions, computers, etc. When I do my shopping it's hard to get a smile from someone as most are checking their phones for coupons or chatting with a friend while purchasing their weekly groceries. And I felt guilt because I too am on my phone too much during the day checking email to be sure I haven't missed something important or surfing the web to read up on news. I am even guilty of doing this while I nurse my infant! Shame on me. 

In our home, my husband and I both have cell phones. We also have two televisions and a computer. My 3.5 year old and 2 year old have their own leappads as well. And yes we are guilty of sometimes letting the kids watch an extra tv show in the morning when we are scrammbling to get ready for the busy day ahead. We are also guilty of using our cell phones too much to check our email or surf the web when we could be reading to our children or playing a game with them. At dinner time if we get a text message we usually check it. If we get a phone call we usually pick it up...even in the middle of eating!

I am not writing this to criticize others as I am guilty too. I think unfortunately in this day in age MOST of us are guilty of this. I comment to my husband all of the time that we need to change this behavior. We've even thought of getting rid of the televisions. But then we think that there are some educational shows on TV that we'd like our children to experience and there are those moments when the kids AND parents need 20 minutes of TV (especially when you have three kids 3 and under and things are a crazy zoo!). But in my heart I truly feel as though we need to ALL take a step back and look at what we are teaching our children.  Countless times my son Jack has been trying to show me something that he's created or done and I've pushed him off saying "One second honey, let Mommy just finish this text message to her friend." Really? Do I really need to send my friend a text and not take a second to look at what my beautiful child has created.  How dare I?! I had a rude awakening this past weekend as I was trying to talk to my husband about something important and he was focused on his phone reading a text. I felt ignored and that he didn't care enough to listen to what I had to say. Then I got a jolt of GUILT. This is what I do to my children sometimes. This must be how I make them feel. While my husband did not mean any harm...it hurt my feelings. And while I do not mean any harm to my children it most definitely must hurt their feelings when I do not give them the attention they NEED and DESERVE. 

So if you are guilty of this (if you are not, I give you a lot of credit for not succumbing to this awful technologically filled world we live in today)...please make a pact with me to take a FULL day...and if you can a FULL week and try to not use technology unless it is a must like calling the doctor or paying bills online.  Don't text your friend, don't watch TV, don't check facebook, don't tweet, don't check your email if you don't have to, don't surf the web on your phone or computer if it's something you are doing just because...take a whole day and let it be technology free! 

If we do this, I can most guarantee that everyone will be happier and feel as if they are loving each other and communicating with each other as we should. I think you will do things with your family that we used to do when we were younger...like play monopoly, go for a family walk in the cold, take a walk to see the horses at Goddard Park, bake something together, eat a family meal with everyone and do not allow phones to be AT or NEAR the table. Let's get back to old times...the better times. 

I challenge every person who reads this in East Greenwich and any other town to have a day with no technology sometime between Feb. 1 and Feb. 8. Or if you are really determined try a week. Whatever you do, if you do decide to do this, stick to it for yourself and your family.    

While technology is great for many things such as calling family, watching weather reports, paying bills and even teaching children to work technology (if we don't teach them this they will surely be far behind in our society)...we all know that too much technology or screen time is only hurting ourselves, our family and our world. I guess the biggest thing is to be sure that we are teaching our children to live in a world where communication with one another is extremely important. I fear we are going to raise children that only interact with their phone or computer. And then what?  This can only lead to a path that is not healthy for everyone.  They won't be getting enough fresh air, they will be eating too much while indoors, they will not be learning to talk about issues with others or their family face to face....the list goes on of the many negatives associated with this.  While your teenager or child may not like the idea of a WHOLE day with no technology (or maybe even you)...let's be good parents and teach them that the world is a better place when we spend quality time together.

If you will take the "No Technology For A Day Pledge," please comment "I PLEDGE!" below. Send this blog to everyone you know and ask them to pledge as well. Let's see how many people we can get to partcipate in this important act.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kimberly R. Ragosta February 02, 2013 at 11:33 PM
I will state again that there is a need for technology...and I use it a lot! And I love patch...check and read it all of the time as it keeps me connected to my community and in the loop. Maybe if parents had patience to read their child a book or play I spy...we would not need to take the leappad out at the Dr's. I have 3 children 3 and under and there have been times 1 is sick and I need to take all 3 with me. I would never take the leappads with me as I feel that it is lazy parenting. That is the problem...parents are trying to keep their kids quiet by giving them technology and I simply think this is wrong. I feel as if that is teaching our children the wrong message...as if to say 'I'm too tired and lazy to interact with you right now and I really don't want to hear a peep from you...so here play with this.' I think there is s time and place for such devices...and if a child can't wait 15 minutes without begging for a leappad or iPhone...that to me is a problem. Parents need to step up and realize what we are teaching our children...myself included. I want to be a mother that shows my children attention...and most importantly teaches them patience in a waiting room. This lesson will go beyond the waiting room and help them when they are older. I know there have to be some people out there that agree with me. Is pledging to take 1 day off from recreational technology that hard to do? It shouldn't be...but because the world is the way it is...it is hard!
Michael Bellemare February 02, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Technology has gone haywire. You haven't seen anything yet. I hate to sound like a pessimist but look how the world is changing because of advanced tech stuff and it's definitely not for the good.
Kimberly R. Ragosta February 02, 2013 at 11:35 PM
There is so much more to life than all of these devices. Scary to think what the world will be like in 10 years. As for me...I am going to work hard as a mother to try to limit technology in my family...I think it will help my children's character.
Joyce February 02, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Growing up in the 50's and 60's, we were taught as children "to be seen and not heard" - sounds pretty drastic for these days...however, it did teach us to respect authority, to learn to sit and listen, to find quiet ways to entertain ourselves and we definitely weren't the center of attention in any family setting. Just one word or look from a parent put us in our place I remember limited TV, playing lots of monopoly and limited phone conversations on our old dial up phone, But realistically, cell phones are great when you want to touch base with your teenager, catch up with a friend or if you have an emergency. My concern is that these devices are almost an added fixed appendage that "heaven forbid" if we forget them at home. How have we become so dependent on a little 3x5" piece of metal? Do we really need to know at this moment if Lindsey Lohan is in jail or Beyonce lip synced? Do we really need to acknowledge that email or text when we are having coffee with our dear friend? Can we ever just ride a train and look out the window at the trees, the land and even the junkyards? Can we ever just daydream or meditate? Will our children even understand that concept? I think Kim's idea of setting aside time - whether it be an hour or two, a day or a week makes sense. Let's not lose our souls to technology.
Former Ports resident February 03, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Joyce I agree exactly with your first paragraph. No read the blog and its purpose and with lies the problem. We went from being seen and not heard to making our kids the main focus of our existence. We schlep them around from one organized event to another, plan play dates, brag about every little thing they do on Facebook, act like if they can draw a simple picture they are simply the next Van Gogh and then we complain when we need a break from doting on them. This is why kids can't play by themselves. This is why they need constant attention. It just amazes me that when we grew up and became parents we lost our identities and became mom and dad only. I will bet anything it is why the divorce rate is as high as it is. But the best part is yet to come. What do you think will happen when our kids are grown and we can no longer take care of ourselves. Do you think your kids will turn the table on dote on us? I would like to think so but because we focused all of our attention on them, an all they know is that the world revolves around them, don't expect it.

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